My project proposal for working with the Australian Wine Research Institute stemmed from ten years of working with food as art material, but more specifically, my last five years of dabbling in cross-modal processing research. In my own very casual terms, cross-modal research addresses how the different senses cross-pollinate one another to affect perception and experience. For example, how does seeing the colour green affect the perceived flavour of beer?
My investigations into this field began during a short placement in the experimental psychology lab of Professor Charles Spence at Oxford in 2012, and have been maintained through consistent personal research and reading. I have formalised these ideas within my own practice primarily through my concept meals (link) in which I design new plates, cups, cutlery etc to reimagine the choreography of dining. The logic of cross-modal research is built into the designs I create; colour, shape, texture, and weight are manipulated in order to achieve a specific experience (often on a subconscious level).
Beyond the seed of research and development my practice-based experiments have so far been entirely unscientific. Having the opportunity to work with the sensory team at AWRI offers expansive collaborative opportunities towards the production of a new body of work, and hopefully new insights into the field. I am creating artwork on site at the AWRI that seeks to find a synesthetic harmony between the flavour of wines and 2D still or moving images. The goal is to consider how the intangible multi-sensory language of taste might be translated into visual forms. This creative output will have its foundation in scientific methods but will be translated through the creative process.
My first week at AWRI has been exciting, and has included a healthy dose of wine-tasting. Mostly though I have been overwhelmed by support and enthusiasm from the institute. My heartfelt thanks to all the staff at the institute for their generous welcome, and especially to the sensory team who will be hosting me for three months in 2019 (and who cleared me a desk space), Leigh Francis, Wes Pearson, Elanor Bilogevic, Damian Epinase Nandorfy, and Desiree Likos.